Nope, it’s not click-bait; it actually happened.
I’ve talked a lot on this blog about the agony of years of fruitless interviews and relentless job searching. During this post, I’ll tell the story of how I was offered my second full-time teaching job…while in the hospital.
A year prior, I had been offered a job (over the phone) to teach in Southern Maryland. I’ll talk more about those experiences in another post.
I accepted immediately, and the spouse and I uprooted our lives to move 5 hours to a new state to begin my teaching career.
It was a tough gig; I taught Pre-K through 5th grade general music, in addition to beginning and advanced band classes. I had an average of 6-7 classes per day, ranging from 18-26 students. The students were different than anyone I had ever taught. The population was a cross between the large naval base community, those who had lived in the rural area since the 1700s, and those who escaped Baltimore and migrated more south. The elementary building was built for 350 students, and we had 750. Trailers spread out from the main school building almost like a refugee camp; in this district they literally cannot build new schools fast enough for the exploding population.
In this job, I was sworn at, hit, kicked, and threatened on a daily basis by students who didn’t even come up to my knee. It was challenging, back-breaking work that left me in tears many days. After a few days I drove 7 hours to meet my parents in North Carolina for some R & R time. After my first full week teaching I drove 5 hours back home for a local fair and I bawled the entire drive, wondering how I was going to survive an entire year of this.
And survive I did, thanks to some amazing people I met along the way.
The other music teacher at my school was also new, though a bit younger than me and fresh out of college. Unlike most new graduates, Cat was extremely grounded and didn’t have any grand illusions of what teaching would be like. Together we stayed up way too late brainstorming, writing lesson plans, and just trying to survive. Our mentor teacher was also fantastic. I owe everything I know about classroom management to her. She is an amazing teacher who has huge successes in one of the supposed ‘worst’ elementary schools in that district. I wish there were more teachers like her out there, because she is the single reason I made it through that first year.
I’ll be sharing some of her resources and lesson plans in later lessons.
Continuing on, I made it through the year with some crash courses in classroom management and walked away with some useful skills. In September of that year, my spouse and I were thrilled when we discovered I was pregnant, and due to deliver a few days after school let out.
While I was teaching here, my spouse and I made the commitment that though we were managing in this new life, we missed our hometown and would like to return to the area. Where we lived was alright, but we were unused to living among a large population and the challenges that it entailed (like taking 45 minutes to get to Wal-Mart despite it being 2 miles away, and then when you get there the shelves are bare and the check-out line is 12 people deep).
We decided to come home whenever either of us got a job offer. I was applying for positions back in my home state, and he was hoping for an opening at his old office. I applied for a few things, while enjoying my pregnancy and still teaching during the day.
In the beginning of May, I received an interview for a Band Director position in a school only 40 minutes from our old home. Both my spouse and I took a personal day from work, and drove up the night before.
I was extremely nervous about interviewing while pregnant; would they discriminate because I was about to be a new mom? Though it’s not legal, they could still make up any other reason they wanted. I wore a black dress and tried not to present a sideview…surely at 7 months pregnant they wouldn’t notice… right?
Well, I never heard back from them, despite a “we’ll call you” (if only I had a nickel…). I even followed the board meeting minutes and deflated when I saw they hired someone else. I moved on, and packed my room up on Friday, June 14th.
On Saturday morning at 6am, I went into labor. On Sunday (ironically Father’s Day) I gave birth to my daughter, and our first child.
Two days later while in recovery, I noticed I had a missed call and a voicemail on my cell phone. I listened to it while in the hospital bathroom.
In the message, the superintendent from the school talked for a good five minutes, but the gist was that the person they had hired back in May hadn’t worked out, and that I had been the second choice, and would I be interested in taking the job?
I immediately start bawling (tears of joy!) and shaking uncontrollably (damn those postpartum hormones). My spouse is immediately terrified since he thinks something terrible must have happened (he initially thought my parents were in a car wreck, since they had just left the hospital after visiting).
I called the superintendent back (who was with the principal also), and accepted the position. It was then they informed me that the marching band was expected to be in a parade at the end of July (in about a month). I could totally have the band ready for that, right?
Well, clutching my newborn to my chest, I did what anyone desperate to get what they want would do: “Yes sir, I’ll absolutely be there.”
So, my husband and I had two weeks to find a place to live, pack up, resign our jobs, and move back home. With a baby. I had essentially no maternity leave; I had to start marching band rehearsals immediately in July to ensure the band was ready, and I began my job once school started in August.
Anytime I find myself overwhelmed by life, I think back to that time. If I could get through that, I could handle everything.
So can you.
And that’s the story of how I was offered a job in the hospital.